Articles Posted in Injuries to Minors

The mother of a 12-year-old girl who was allegedly bullied by other students at Ramblewood Middle School has filed a Coral Springs personal injury lawsuit on her daughter’s behalf against the Broward County School District. Randi Vanderheyden claims that school officials not only failed to give the adolescent a safe school environment but also, faculty did not take action to stop young Breann from being bullied.

Breann contends that she was verbally abused, targeted with racial slurs, and physically assaulted for months. Her mom complained to the Broward County school superintended but, rather than help the girl, Vanderheyden says the principal blamed her daughter. Breann says that she attempted to kill herself because she couldn’t stand being bullied. Her mother found her in time and took her to a hospital.

The Broward County personal injury complaint claims that Breann suffered as a result of the hate crimes, discrimination, harassment, and bullying. She is now in therapy and continuing her studies through the Internet.

The family of Juan Carlos Rivera has settled their Coral Gables wrongful death lawsuit with the Miami-Dade School Board. A fellow student fatally stabbed Rivera in 2009.

Rivera and another student, Andy Rodriguez, reportedly bumped elbows and that was when the two Coral Gables Senior High students got into a fistfight. Rodriguez then stabbed Rivera numerous times, including one jab to the heart. According to prosecutors, the brawl was over a girl.

Rivera’s family had accused the high school of negligence, including poor supervision, inadequate security, and failing to properly determine which students were troubled. Meantime, Rodriguez has been found guilty of second-degree murder with a weapon. He will be sentenced later this month.

Our Miami personal injury lawyers represent children and adults in South Florida seeking to recover damages for injuries they sustained as a result of sexual abuse. We know how devastating injuries from sexual assault and molestation can be for the victims, and we are sensitive to our clients’ situations while doing our best to obtain financial recovery.

Occasionally, on our South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog site, we report on related stories occurring outside the state. One headline that has been making national papers is the allegations against ex-Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. The 67-year-old has been indicted on 40 criminal counts for allegedly sexually abusing a number of boys over a 15-year period.

After retiring from the college in 2009, Sandusky continued to use the school’s facilities to work with at-risk kids, some of whom he allegedly molested and sexually assaulted. The child sex abuse incidents occurred over a 15-year-period.

A girl who claims she was molested by Fort Pierce Westwood High School teacher Charles Edward Johnson Sr. is suing him and the St. Lucie County School District for Florida personal injury. The plaintiff contends that Johnson sexually abused her on a number of occasions between January and May 2008 while he was her math teacher.

Johnson was arrested in 2008 on a single count of misdemeanor battery and two felony counts of lascivious/lewd molestation because of complaints made by the plaintiff and another female student. Later that year, Johnson pleaded no contest to three counts of misdemeanor battery. His sentence was the 142 days he had already spent behind bars and over two years probation. Even now, Johnson, who pleaded no contest to the criminal charges, maintains that he is innocent and did not commit the allegations alleged in the St. Lucie County injury lawsuit.

In her St. Lucie County sex abuse lawsuit, the plaintiff is holding the school board “vicariously liable” for the abuse on the grounds that administrators knew or should have known that Johnson was molesting students.

Sex Abuse

Sex abuse can lead to serious emotional and psychological injuries that can impair the victim for life. In Florida, you may file a civil claim over sex abuse within:

• Four years of discovering the injury or the causal link between the abuse and the injury. This is beneficial to those who may have repressed their memories of the abuse and were unable to remember what happened until years after the incident.
• Four years after you are no longer dependent on the abuser.
• Seven years after the age of majority and before you turn 25.

St. Lucie School District, former Fort Pierce teacher sued for alleged molestation, TC Palm, September 26, 2011

Related Web Resources:

Child sex abuse, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network


More Blog Posts:

Mother Files Miami-Dade County Lawsuit Against Opa-Locka Police After Her Mentally Disabled Son’s Alleged Rape, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, May 31, 2011
Man Files Miami-Dade Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit Naming Catholic Nun as His Abuser, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, April 15, 2011
Coral Springs, Florida Injury Lawsuit Accuses Music Teacher of Molesting Student, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, November 5, 2010 Continue reading

A jury has decided to award the parents of 2-year-old Bryan Santana $4.5 million in Palm Beach medical malpractice damages in their civil case against Perinatal Specialists of the Palm Beaches, OB/GYN Specialists of the Palm Beaches, and Dr. Marie Morel. Santana, now 2, has one leg and no arms. He was born in October 2008.

Ana Mejia and Rodolfo Santana sued the defendants for Palm Beach birthing malpractice claiming that Mejia would have never carried the pregnancy to term if they were aware of their son’s severe birth defects. Yet even though Mejia underwent more than one ultrasound, her OB/GYN and technicians at both centers failed to notice that their son was missing three limbs. The two of them said they didn’t know until after they saw their son that he would be so severely impaired. The defendants’ attorneys, meantime, countered that Bryan’s parents should have agreed to an amniocentesis, which might have detected their son’s abnormalities. The couple, however, said they decided not to have that procedure because they feared that doing so might cause Mejia to miscarry.

Mejia and Santana had originally sought $9 million. They made it clear, however, that the compensation they were seeking isn’t for their own mental trauma and emotional anguish but for their son’s wheelchairs, surgeries, attendants, prosthesis, and other needs he will require for the rest of his life. The jury awarded them half that amount when they decided that the ultrasound technician was 15% liable, while 85% of the liability was assigned to Dr. Morel, for errors made that resulted in the incorrect reading of the ultrasound results. The defendants plan to appeal the verdict.

There are medical procedures and tests available that a mother can undergo during pregnancy to make sure that the fetus is a viable and healthy one. These tests are also important for determining whether there are any birth defects that might so serious that terminating the pregnancy is best option.

Jury awards West Palm Beach parents of child born with no arms, one leg $4.5 million, Palm Beach Post, September 10, 2011
Couple sues doctor for baby’s disabilities, UPI, September 8, 2011

Related Web Resources:

Birth Defects, MedLinePlus
Birth Defects, American Pregnancy Association


More Blog Posts:

Florida Medical Malpractice Cap Upheld by US Appeals Court, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, May 29, 2011 Palm Beach County Doctors Cite Fear of Medical Malpractice as a Reason for the Increase in C-Section Deliveries, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, September 15, 2008
Report Links Topamax to Birth Defects, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, July 22, 2008 Continue reading

Jared Adkins, 39, and his son Calvin Adkins, 11, were hospitalized earlier this month after they were seriously injured in a Florida boating accident off the Upper Keys. While Jared has been released, as of August 13, Calvin was still in critical condition at a Miami hospital.

The father and son were starting a drift dive on the morning of August 9 when the accident happened. The two of them had jumped into the water from the stern dive platform while the vessel was in reverse gear, and this when they were hit by the boat’s propeller.

The dive boat is the Big Dipper from the Florida Keys Dive Center, which is is located on Plantation Key.

The Broward Medical Examiner’s Office has scheduled an autopsy for tomorrow in the death of Miramar High School senior offensive linesman Isaiah Laurencin. The 16-year-old, who collapsed during conditioning drill on the football field yesterday afternoon, was pronounced dead at a Hollywood, Florida hospital this morning. Tuesday’s workout took place under the supervision of Miramar coaches, per Florida High School Athletic Association requirements.

According to Broward schools district spokesperson Nadine Drew, Laurencin, who weighs 286 pounds and was 6-foot-3, had indicated from the beginning of practice that he wasn’t feeling well and he didn’t participate in much of the workout. If the coaches or the school could/should have done anything that could have prevented Laurencin’s death, they could be held liable for Miramar, Florida wrongful death. Unfortunately, over the last two decades, there have been numerous athlete deaths in Florida.

In Central Florida three years ago, UCF football player Ereck Plancher, who was suffering from Sickle sell trait, died following an off-season practice session. After finding that the university’s Athletic Association did not do enough to help him (he exhibited symptoms of exhaustion and dizziness during practice and knew he had sick cell trait), the jury awarded his parents $10 million for his Florida wrongful death.

A 31-year-old woman is suing the Opa-Locka Police Department. She claims that the police refused to enforce the restraining order against her ex-boyfriend Victor Howard. She contends that although she wanted Howard out of her house, she was the one that police threatened to arrest if she didn’t go. She claims that they made her leave her mentally disabled son behind, which allowed Howard to allegedly rape and beat him. She says that because to city cops violated her son’s civil rights and left him with her boyfriend.

Howard, 49, has been arrested for the alleged sexual battery of a minor. He has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charge.

The boy, 12, has the intellectual abilities of a small child. He sustained a traumatic brain injury during a car wreck and has been diagnosed with mental retardation that makes comprehension difficult for him. Although Howard is the biological father of two of the plaintiff’s four children, the boy is not his son. The woman says that because the restraining order only gave her sole custody of the two kids that Howard fathered, the cops let the boy stay with him.

Six years after the Florida water scooter accident that killed 14-year-old Yasell Perez and left then-15-year-old Samantha Archer with serious injuries, their families are in court seeking damages from Yamaha for Palm Beach County wrongful death, products liability, and personal injury. The jury trial opened last week and the plaintiffs are seeking millions.

The tragic Palm Beach County injury accident occurred on Easter Sunday on March 2005 after the teens got on a WaveRunner on the Intracoastal Waterway. Five minutes after taking off, the WaveRunner struck a boat, killing Perez and causing Archer, now 21, to sustain serious injuries, including a traumatic brain damage, a broken pelvis, and gashes to her legs, stomach and groin. She was hospitalized for two months and had to return several times to undergo surgery. Doctors have testified that Archer has lost the mental and emotional abilities that would allow her to sustain a marriage, hold a job, have a kid, or live independently.

A lawyer for Yamaha has said that the teenagers shouldn’t have told the WaveRunner’s owner that they knew how to operated the personal watercraft. He also notes that Archer at the time of the accident was under 16, which is the legal age for operating a water scooter in Florida. Meantime, the plaintiffs are claiming that a steering problem with the WaveRunner prevented the girls from being able to avoid striking the boat. Their lawyer contends that the PWC accident that killed the girls could have been avoided if only Yamaha had listened to concerns it had been receiving for years about problems with the WaveRunner’s steering system. Archer is seeking almost $7 million, while Perez’s family is also seeking millions.

A South Florida man is suing the Archdiocese of Miami, Archbishop Thomas Wenski, the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Michigan, and St. James Catholic School for Miami-Dade County personal injury because he says he was sexually abused by a nun. John Doe No. 73, who is from Broward County, claims he was molested Sister Joan Marie, who taught him when he was a first grader at St. James Catholic School in North Miami.

In his Miami sexual abuse complaint, the plaintiff contends that she would call him to the front of lines and rub his body, including his genitals. He says that she sexually abused him twice a week from 1978 to 1979. John Doe, 38, says he decided to file a lawsuit now because his son is going into the fifth grade.

John Doe’s attorney says that the Miami Archdiocese and the Dominican Sisters should have known or knew that the nun was a sexual predator. The plaintiff says that he suffered mental, physical, and emotional injuries that were “severe and permanent” and he experienced humiliation and shame. As a result of his Miami personal injuries, he contends that he has not been able to live a “normal life.”